Providing Holidays From the Heart

Ruddi’s Retreat has won the most prestigious award any charity or voluntary group can achieve … The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The honour has been given for the way Ruddi’s provides free caravan holidays to families with young children who have been affected by serious illnesses such as cancer, have life-limiting illnesses or have suffered bereavement.

Ruddi’s founder Ali Waterworth said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured that the charity’s work has been recognised and this award pays tribute to the hard work and commitment of the whole team and the wonderful volunteers who have assisted us over the years”.

The charity has seen a big increase in demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic with many families using the four caravans on the east Yorkshire coast this summer who have lost someone to coronavirus.

Ali said: “We’ve had so many applications from people who have lost a loved one – usually a parent – to Covid. It’s just so heart-breaking. This pandemic has caused such sadness within our community.”

The caravans are on the five-star Primrose Valley Haven caravan site at Filey and one of them, which is fully adapted for wheelchair use, was bought in October 2019 by the Huddersfield Town Pedal 4 Pounds fundraising cycle marathon.

Ruddi’s main source of income is its café in the centre of Slaithwaite which specialises in homemade cakes and afternoon teas.

Since Ruddi’s Retreat was set up in June 2011, the charity has provided free holidays to about 700 families. Around 80% of them are from the Huddersfield area but the charity also helps families across the Yorkshire region and nationwide.

Ali said: “It’s all about these families having quality time together – some have been through terrible traumas.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities and was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Winners are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Nationwide, 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have received the prestigious award in 2021.